Lock Replacement Vs Lock Re-key

Lock Replacements Vs Lock Rekey- What is Better?

Homeowners are fascinated when they find out that there is also something like rekeying a lock rather than changing their whole lock set. Not many people have come across this term before due to which a lot of them simply choose to change their locks completely when they have a problem rather than consider rekeying. This doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with changing the locks, but the fact is that it is not the only option you can explore when you have trouble with your locks. Homeowners can explore the option of rekeying their locks, and in some cases, it might turn out to be a better choice than having to change your entire door locks.

The question is how to figure out what is the best choice? Replacing your lock? Or Re-Keying it? In order to make up your mind about whether to rekey your door locks or have them completely changed, you need to take an in-depth look at both options and then arrive at an answer. Read on to a little bit more about each option.


Rekeying your Door Locks

The term rekey provides you an insight into the whole process and how it works. Put simply, when rekeying the locks, you are trying to readjust its internal workings so that it can function with a different key, but does not compromise with the overall security of your home. Yes, it sounds straightforward, but it can be very complicated if you are not a trained and professional locksmith. The idea of rekeying is to let homeowners keep their old locks, but have a new key to open it. This means that the old one will no longer work with it. Understanding this concept is important before you move ahead with your decision.

What is Re-Keying?

The process of rekeying is regarded as cost-effective because it uses the existing lock body. Instead of changing out the whole lock, a few things inside the lock are re-worked to make the locking function work with a different key than the one used before. For rekeying the lock, a professional locksmith will need to gain access to the lock cylinder. This can only be done by removing the lock from the door. If you are familiar with door locks, you might be able to do it, but it is best left to the experts as it is a tad complicated. If you do the rekeying yourself and make a mistake, the security of your home might be compromised.

When it comes to locks, you don’t want to jeopardize your safety simply because you don’t wish to hire a locksmith. Rekeying a lock requires focusing on the lock cylinder and the key pins it contains. These are the primary components that need to be rearranged and changed for rekeying a lock. For targeting the lock cylinder, you also need to have the corresponding key with you. If the current key is missing, the lock will have to be picked in order to start the rekeying process. The key pins inside a lock are designed to correspond to a specific key.

Thus, if you change or rearrange the key pins, the key will no longer work on the lock. For setting up the key pins properly, you should be aware of what pin sizes are corresponding to which key depths. You have to have a key decoder, a pinning size chart and a depth chart for decoding this information. A key decoder is useful in reducing the guesswork that a locksmith has to perform for determining what key pins to use.


Benefits of Rekeying Locks

Increased sense of security

You can boost your overall sense of security when you decide to rekey your locks. This is because it is a straightforward and easy way of resetting your key control and also nullifies the other keys that could be used for operating your lock. It is regarded as a common practice amongst new homeowners when they move in. Through this practice, any of the previous homeowners or anyone else who had a copy of the key would be unable to just freely walk into the house that doesn’t belong to them anymore. It is an excellent way of sealing up any loose ends that might exist in your security and it also provides you with a fresh start.

Easy and quick

When the procedure of rekeying is performed by a professional locksmith, it is very easy and quick and doesn’t require the use of numerous tools or a lot of manpower, for that matter. Other than a spanner, a catch tool, a key decoder and the current key of the lock you are rekeying, you just need to know how it is done. If someone hasn’t done this before, it might take them a lot longer.


As mentioned above, when a lock is being rekeyed, the main components that changed are the key pins that can be found in the lock cylinder. As compared to the price of new and high-quality locks, these key pins are extremely low priced and will work for anyone’s budget. Thus, rekeying is actually a very cost-effective option of all homeowners who wish to change a few elements of their security without burning a hole in their pocket. The most that people will have to pay will be the labor cost associated with hiring the services of a locksmith.


Downsides of Rekeying Locks

Limited security upgrades

There is only one major downside of choosing to rekey your locks. Choosing to rekey your lock means that you only get a limited security boost. This doesn’t mean that rekeying the lock doesn’t help, but it simply indicates that the other features of your security lock remain unchanged. Hence, if you have a low-quality lock installed and you decide to get it rekeyed, it means that you will still have the low quality lock in place. This is one of the reasons why only limited security upgrades can be enjoyed when you decide to rekey the locks instead of changing them completely.


Replacing a Lock

The primary difference between rekeying a lock and replacing it is that you will now be using a completely different and possibly brand new lock. Replacing a lock typically means that the entire lock body will be changed. Therefore, it could be a bit of a higher expense as you will have to purchase a new lockset for your door when you get it replaced. As said earlier, it is not necessary for you to do this when the lock is being rekeyed. When you make up your mind about replacing a lock, you have to determine the lock you want to use for replacing it with.

There are a number of factors that you need consider when you are trying to figure out what lock you want to use for replacing the existing one. Some of these factors that you need to explore include the budget for your lock, as well as the kind of features and preferences that you want your door locks to have. For instance, if you have decided to replace your existing lock with a lock of a different brand, rekeying will not do the trick. When you have decided what lock you want to get installed, you can either choose to purchase it yourself from a hardware store or you can simply inform your locksmith and they will buy it for you.

Similar to everything else, there are pros and cons of replacing your door locks and you need to consider them before making your decision.


Benefits of Replacing Locks


When you install new locks throughout the house, it provides you with the ability to customize your security and this is something a lot of homeowners end up taking for granted. The term customize means that that you can influence the way your locks feel and look and also have an impact on the way they function along with the other elements of your home security. For instance, if you wish your lock to have longer screws, it is completely up to you. If you think you want additional security pins, you can have that too. When you replace your lock, you have a brand new security canvas that you can play with.

Possibility of upgrades

If you decide to replace your locks instead of rekeying them, you can enjoy the luxury of being able to give your locks an upgrade and thus, your home security. This means that you get the opportunity of improving upon your security measures that you have already installed. On the flipside, you can also decide to get rid of your traditional locks and instead move onto smart locks. Regardless of the situation, you now have the ability and option of upgrading your locks.


Downsides of Replacing Locks

Paying for the locks and labor

As opposed to the rekeying process, changing your locks entirely will result in a much higher cost. This is mostly due to the fact that you will have to pay for the locks and also for the labor of putting them in. The cost of purchasing the locksets is a lot more expensive than the average key pins in the locks that are changed in rekeying. This is not much of a con for those who have a very large budget, but if you have a financial limit, it could be a problem for you.


Questions You Need to Ask


If you take a look at both options, making a clear-cut decision becomes difficult. There is no one-size-fits-all approach that can be used in this case because the situation is different for everyone. In order to figure out what method works best for you and your home, you have to face the specific circumstances you are posed with. There are some cases where rekeying a lock might be more suitable and affordable and others where replacing a lock sounds like a good idea. You can come to a decision by considering the following questions:

Are you satisfied with your brand of locks?

If you are fully satisfied with the brand of locks you have and they are functioning properly, then it is better to rekey the locks if you wish to add a layer of security to your home or introduce a master key system. You can still replace your locks, but it would be a waste of money and perfectly good locks. In this situation, it is cheaper and easier to rekey them.

Have you recently lost one of your keys?

It happens to everyone at some point; you have just realized that you lose a copy of your keys. However, a compromised key means your home’s security system is also compromised and needs to be dealt with immediately. In this instance, rekeying your locks is the cheapest solution because the problem is with the key whereas the locks are working just fine.

Do you want to replace locks for security reasons?

If security is your motto, you can either rekey or replace your locks. With security, you need to narrow things a bit more. For instance, if there has been an increase in crime in your neighborhood, you might need a stronger and higher grade of locks. Research various locks and check their attributes. If you are just looking to tighten up loose ends, then you can choose to rekey.

How much can you spend?

Last, but not least, your budget will have a huge influence on your decision. If you are on a tight budget and cannot spend a lot of money, rekeying might be the only option at your disposal for tightening your security measures. But, if you have some breathing room in your finances, you can opt to change your locks and provide your home with great security. The labor paid to the locksmith will also vary for each option.

You can consider these questions and weigh in the pros and cons of replacements and rekeying carefully before you decide what is the right option for you and your house.